How to Clean a Cranberry Sauce Stain (and Other Thanksgiving Tips)

In last month’s blog we mentioned that every holiday has it unique set of stains and for Halloween we focused on how to remove blood from carpet. Thanksgiving also has some expected stains from guests. Family and friends’ gatherings often result in food and drink spills and other messes. We like to think the messier the party, the more fun is being had! As long as you have the right cleaning solutions on-hand, you can be ready for the inevitable and not stress so much about the potential stains. The two most common Thanksgiving stains are food and drink spills and tracked-in mud or dirt from guests.

How to Get Food Stains Out of Carpet

There are two type of food and drink stains – liquids and solids. Follow the steps below to effectively remove either from carpet and other soft surfaces like couches, pillows and seat cushions. It is very important to act quickly and immediately to prevent the stain from setting into the carpet or fabric.

The only difference between cleaning solids and liquids is during the first step. After that, the stain removal process is the same for cranberry sauce, red wine, gravy, and green bean casserole.

Step 1 (for cleaning liquids like gravy, wine, soda, juice, salad dressings, and cranberry sauce) – Blot the area with a white paper towel or cloth to soak up as much of the liquid as possible. Press deep into the stain, but do not rub.

Step 1 (for cleaning solids like mashed potatoes, yams, green bean casserole, and macaroni and cheese) – Use a spoon to gently remove as much of the debris as possible.

Step 2 – For food and drink stains you want to use a grease and oil fighting solution like Rug Doctor Spot and Pre-Treat Dual Action Cleaner. Spray the area and saturate the stain.

Step 3 – Use a sponge or cloth to gently agitate the stain. Work your way from the edge of the stain inward towards the center to contain the stain in its original area and not make it larger.

Step 4 – Blot with a white paper towel, pressing deep into the stain.

Step 5 – Spray water on the stain to rinse and blot with a white paper towel again, pressing deep into the stain.

Step 6 – If possible, block off guest access to the area to allow it to dry completely. Repeat all steps as needed until the stain is gone.

If the stain is still visible after guests have gone home, you may need to deep clean the area with an extractor. Carpet cleaning extractors use pressure, water and suction to extract deeply embedded stains from upholstery or carpeting. Rug Doctor has several rental options that can help. The Pro Portable Detailer and Spot Cleaner is great for small areas, stairs and upholstery. It has professional grade suction power and cleans deep within the fibers down to the backing. If you only suffered a few minor stains on Thanksgiving that you are having trouble removing, we recommend this rental.

If your guest wreaked havoc on your carpet and you have several stains over a large area, we recommend renting the Pro Deep Carpet Cleaner. The Pro Deep Carpet Cleaner deeps cleans carpets and rugs with power comparable to the truck-mounted systems professional services use, but costs significantly less. Both options can successfully eliminate food and drink stains. You can find a rental location near you with our rental locator.

How to Get Mud Stains Out of Carpet

Unless you make your guests remove their shoes at the door, it is likely they will be tracking in mud and dirt. While it is important to act quickly and immediately with food and drink stains, it is actually the opposite for mud stains. It is better to let mud dry completely before attempting to clean. Scrubbing wet mud can actually spread the mud and grind it into the carpet fibers. After the mud has dried, follow these steps to clean mud from carpet and other soft surfaces.

Step 1 – Gently touch the area to be sure the mud is completely dry and hardened.

Step 2 – Gently scrape dried mud with a plastic spoon or knife to remove as much debris as possible.

Step 3 – Vacuum the area to remove any remaining debris.

Step 4 – Rug Doctor Spot and Pre-Treat Dual Action Cleaner is great for mud stains as well as food and drink. So this one cleaner would be perfect for your most common Thanksgiving carpet stains. Spray the area and saturate the stain.

Step 5 – Blot with a white paper towel, pressing deep into the stain.

Step 6 – Spray water on the stain to rinse and blot with a white paper towel again, pressing deep into the stain.

Step 7 – Let area completely dry and repeat as needed.

If the stain is still visible after a couple of treatments, you may need to use a carpet cleaning extractor as discussed earlier. For mud prints, we recommend the Pro Portable Detailer and Spot Cleaner. It is small and compact enough to carry around the house and just do spot cleaning. You can also more easily clean stairs where mud prints are likely to be as well as cleaning upholstery.

Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks for your family, friends and blessings. Rug Doctor is extremely thankful for our readers, followers and customers. Thank you for trusting us to deliver safe and effective cleaning solutions to help keep your home clean and healthy. We want to see your Thanksgiving pictures! Send them to us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter! Have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving!